Week 8 is in the books, and it wasn’t always kind. We had late additions to the injury report, players that needed to step away, and injuries on the field that will have significant long-term ramifications. As always, though, it afforded us some time to learn about who these players are and what role they might have for their teams. As dynasty players, we’re seeking to get ahead of the curve, whether it’s acquiring a player before they hit it big or knowing when to move on before it’s too late. That’s what the Stock Watch is all about.
As will be the case throughout the season, I’ll be taking stock of what we’ve learned each week. I’ll be offering one player per position—QB, RB, WR, and TE—who improved their stock and one who saw their stock slip. For those trying to win now and those playing the long game, it’s crucial to pounce at the right time. So, without further ado, here’s Week 8 of the Dynasty Stock Watch.
Stock Up: Mike White, New York Jets
About: The Jets went out in search of a franchise quarterback this off-season. The team traded former third overall pick, Sam Darnold, to the Panthers, then used the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. It’s been a bit of a growth curve for Wilson, who is 1-5 as a starter, completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,168 yards, four touchdowns, and nine interceptions. During the team’s Week 7 beat down by the Patriots, Wilson was injured and forced from the game. Enter White, a journeyman initially taken in the 2018 draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday was his first start, and it was a doozy. He threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns as the Jets beat the 5-2 Cincinnati Bengals. White also posted a QB2 fantasy finish. In short, he gave a team that spent its week trading for veteran Joe Flacco a reason for optimism heading into its Week 9 Thursday Night Football showdown. White feels like the kind of player that’s worth a stash, especially given the way he’s played to start his Jets’ tenure.
Stock Down: Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
About: I mentioned Goff before and not in a good way. Since being called out by his coach before Week 7, things haven’t improved. Goff struggled in a close loss to the Rams in Week 7 and followed that up by being the leader of an offense blown out at home by the Philadelphia Eagles. Goff is now 0-8 with the Lions and still hasn’t won a game as a starter when Sean McVay wasn’t his coach. Even as a veteran in a re-build, it appears that Goff might be playing himself out of chances with his second team. Worse yet, he’s been an anemic fantasy option. In Week 8, against the Eagles at home, he finished as just a QB3, barely cracking the Top 30. Only 30 teams played. My advice is to sell for whatever you can because you don’t want to get stuck in a position to need to play Goff right now.
Stock Up: Michael Carter, New York Jets
About: White isn’t the only Jet who is taking off. Carter has seized a dominant role in the backfield, and it’s been a boon to his team and those who roster him. Carter was typically the fourth or fifth running back off the board in rookie drafts. Those who bet on Trey Sermon have seen their back fail to earn carries while being buried on the depth chart. Carter has seized on his opportunities and keeps getting stronger. Carter is an RB2 through eight weeks, coming in at RB20. But he’s been even better than that of late, sitting as RB2 in the two weeks since coming off a bye. The Jets are figuring it out on offense, and that’s been nothing but a good thing for Carter, who is becoming a rock-solid lineup option on a middling team.
Stock Down: Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
About: Gibson was a 2020 draft darling. He was a second or third-round pick in rookie drafts that returned a vast value, finishing as RB13. It seemed like Washington was poised for success in 2021, and Gibson would be a massive part of that. It hasn’t materialized that way. Washington is 2-6, and nagging injuries have limited the touches for Gibson, who cedes carries and targets to veteran J.D. McKissic and rookie Jarret Patterson. While he is still RB18 on the season, and it’s not time to panic—yet—it is a situation to watch. There was hope Gibson could move into RB1 territory before the season. Now the concern is if he’s durable enough to be the guy for Washington. All that puts his long-term value in a precarious place. If you believe, it’s time to buy. If you’re worried, maybe see what return you can get as Washington looks like a team with more questions than answers at this point.
Stock Up: Michael Pittman, Jr., Indianapolis Colts
About: We began the season wondering which receiver—if any—could establish themselves as the No. 1 option in the Colts’ passing game. After eight weeks, the answer is Pittman. He’s currently sitting as WR11 on the season, coming off an impressive stretch that has seen him as WR6 over the past three weeks. Pittman is making big plays and getting into the end zone, which was the hope when players took him as a Top-5 WR option in the 2020 Rookie Draft. Pittman has stepped up to be the guy in the Colts’ passing game with Parris Campbell and TY Hilton ailing again. All that means great things for those who got him at a value.
Stock Down: Laviska Shenault, Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
About: Shenault showed some flashes as a rookie, but the consensus was that it would be wheels up for all the passing game weapons in Jacksonville once the team got a real quarterback. Trevor Lawrence is in Jacksonville, and DJ Chark was lost for the season, but it hasn’t helped Shenault. He sits as WR58 through eight games, without recording a touchdown or a single 100-yard receiving game. Shenault has had only one game where he recorded more than 60 yards receiving—a six-catch, 99-yard day against the Bengals in Week 4. For the most part, he’s appeared to be an afterthought in an offense that hasn’t produced much excitement.
Stock Up: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
About: Freiermuth looked like a good fit for the Steelers when he was drafted back in April, and that’s proved accurate so far this season. Freiermuth easily leaped past Eric Ebron on the depth chart and, with the injury to Juju Smith-Schuster, he’s proven to be a valuable outlet for Ben Roethlisberger and the offense. He’s TE20 on the season and becoming a starting consideration with bye weeks and injuries at a highly volatile position.
Stock Down: Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
About: Tonyan was a celebrated bright spot during the 2020 fantasy season, using some insane efficiency to break out at the position. He saw just 59 targets but caught 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 TDs. Many scooped him up, hoping to find a rock-solid starter at tight end. Tonyan’s 2021 season was a bit slower than anticipated, then hit a true roadblock on Thursday when the tight end tore his ACL, ending his season. Given the uncertainty about Aaron Rodgers’ future past 2021, it’s fair to look at Tonyan as either the ultimate buy low or a sunk asset. I tend to lean toward the latter, given his first eight weeks seemed to indicate 2020 was more of a fluke than a new standard.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as a co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.